Are there family traditions or games or particular rules that help teach children about self-restraint, self-control, etc.?

2 Answers 2


One custom we had at my house was that there were many manners to learn at the dinner table. Each violation earned the offender 1 point. At the end of dinner, the two kids with the most points washed and dried the dishes. The one with the least points got to pick which of the two they wanted (wash or dry). Things like "elbows on the table", "talking with mouth full" and "slurping" were eliminated and mom didn't have to do the dishes. Win for the parents :) From this I learned to be watchful of my manners


Rewards are a good way to motivate children towards the kinds of behavior you want. Games or traditions which build in rewards work well.

An example of this is when I was little I had the tendency to talk non-stop sometimes, which really annoyed my family on long car trips. My family told me that if I was silent and didn't say a word they would get me an ice cream at the next Dairy Queen we passed. I had a burning desire to blab, but the thought of a reeses peanut butter cup blizzard was greater and it worked. They got peace and quiet and I got an ice cream, but I also leaned to be quieter that way.

  • 1
    My only concern with this method is; how compliant will the child be in the absence of rewards? How did you behave when there was no chance of an ice cream on this trip? Here are a few articles about the consequences of using rewards as a way to manage children's behaviour - naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/rewards.html - alfiekohn.org/article/risks-rewards - Basically rewards create the desired behavior only when the reward is present. Then when the reward is not available you have zero control of the child and the child has learned zero control over themselves.
    – user7678
    May 5, 2016 at 12:12
  • I think it depends on the temperment and age of the child. Personally, I found that I learned to be quiet whether there were rewards or not.
    – GdD
    May 5, 2016 at 13:40

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